We all have learned the tedious writing skills throughout grade school and some even in college, but can you really know all the rules all the time? I know most of the basics, but often find myself making mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation on a regular basis. Some of the mistakes are simply because I'm in too much of a rush to stop and correct, some I just overlook, and other mistakes are born out of ignorance. I recently went back to brush up on my grammar and punctuation rules and found a few areas that I was doing plain wrong, but assumed it was correct. It has made me realize that any who wish to pursue even a casual interest in writing should take a little time to review the basics.
There are an infinite number of books and websites available just for the purpose of teaching proper English grammar and punctuation but searching through all of them can be daunting, so I have listed the resources that I have used and found very helpful. If you want to brush up your skills take a look...
I purchased Alpha Teach Yourself Grammar and Style in 24 Hours and found the information well presented and the exercises helped me put the lessons into practice. Each lesson takes about an hour or less to go through it. Do a lesson or two a day, will make it easy to be refreshed in the English language within days.
I also found a few websites that I are helpful as well...
English Grammar Revolution is a website with a listing of all eight parts of speech and more detail about what they are and how they work. This website is a great tool for learning grammar. It also have a section dedicated to sentence diagramming. Click here to try out some exercises and learn how to diagram properly (they even have videos in each lesson), because the best way to learn is to put your knowledge to the test. Scroll down the page until you find the 10 chapters worth of exercises.
About.com: A Guide to Basic Punctuation Rules is a website that lists out the basic punctuations, how to use them, and gives a few examples to show them in a sentence. The rules listed on the site are the most common in practice for proper English, though the rules are only guidelines. You may find people who may use commas more than others, or use semi colons or dashes a lot. It really is all about the preference of the person writing. The important thing to remember is that punctuation works as a stop or pause, so if you feel like the sentence needs a break then you need to decide whether to throw in a comma or simply end the sentence.
It doesn't matter whether you use the Internet or a hard copy of a book, either will give you the information to help reduce the number of mistakes as you write, but don't think those mistakes will all be done and over with. Let's face it, the human error will always be King. That's when it comes in handy to have a friend or college that you can send your writing to for them to look over.